VISUAL FEATURE EDITORIAL #1
INTERACTIVE VIDEO RELEASE WITH
AND LOST CAUSE
All Photography By: Joanna Glezakos
By: Fridae Mattas
Winter sucks, especially here in Ontario where you can get all types of precipitation in one day. The worst is when you get sick like I did. Caught this weird virus that I thought was just a regular cold until it warped into a crazy one. Never in my life have I experienced something like this, along with all the typical symptoms my skin hurt and my hands would go numb to the point where I couldn’t even press buttons on my android. After nearly two weeks I’m finally back at full health, the photos from the first show of the new year Thursday January 8th, turned out alright. I hoped for better but with the ghetto lighting for the first two bands I did okay. Strobes look cool but are not fun to shoot in, nor is red lighting. At least the headliners had wicked lighting, they were the best shots of the night hands down!
This show was a bittersweet experience for me personally, it was the first of 2015 but the last show I will ever cover and see at the Kool Haus. For over thirty years with a few incarnations The Guvernment Entertainment Complex has been a mecca for entertainment in Toronto. It is globally known as one of the largest and longest running clubs in Canada. The complex houses a number of venues like The Kool Haus, Skybar, Chroma (means colour in Greek) aka “The Orange Room” where Deadmaus and quite a few other DJ’s got their start. Many international artists have graced the stage at the well known live venue, The Kool Haus formerly “The Warehouse” and “RPM”. Sadly on the 31st of January after 18 years of music, dancing and mayhem, the massive complex will be closing its doors for good. The Guvernment was the first club I went to as an underage youth exploring the club scene, always had a fantastic time! I believe my father even bounced their doors at some point during the glory days in the nineties.
My siblings and I saw and met many artists like “Nsync”, “Pink”, “Evanescence” and so many more at the Kool Haus. As I got older before the journalist days, I did background work in many films shot at the venue, attended exclusive events, sales, parties, raves, had many backstage wanderings and got lost a few times in the maze of rooms, the Guv is always a fun place to explore. Once upon a time at the Kool Haus I left my backpack with “friends”, who didn’t want to leave the general admission line to actually meet the band. We skipped school to see the band, might as well make the best of it right? When I returned from hanging with the band to grab my backpack, I noticed that some teenie robbed the drawings from inside my bag! Days and nights, hours and hours of sketching and painting gone. Fuming, yet at the same time flattered that my artwork was awesome enough to swipe. To this day I still wonder, why on earth would anyone want to steal Sailor Moon and random school drawings in the first place? Good thing I wasn’t stupid enough to leave my purse because I never saw my artwork again! After all of that drama, at least I chilled with the band before and after the show.
The Guvernment has been for many Torontonians a crutch, it would always be there in our minds. But, as the unnecessary condo communities grow, our music culture in Toronto is being demolished, one venue at a time. Out of all of my adventure spots, I will definitely miss this place the most! Even more so than when the Big Bop complex closed it’s doors. Okay, enough depressing jibbers of what is eminent, let’s get to the music. First up on stage was “The Butcher Babies“, these gorgeous ladies and lads were the whole reason I chose this show as the first of 2015! Major thanks to their team for hooking a girl up! Having heard so many good things about The Butcher Babies, I had to see them live for myself. The minute I wandered into the pit the lights dimmed and the band hit the stage, I made it just in time! Tried as fast as I could to find the best non flash settings in my camera for the lighting, we only had three songs. Right out the gate they embraced the stage with vibrance and charisma, Heidi and Carla did an amazing job entertaining the crowd! The ladies went right up in there, singing from the barricades almost in the crowd. At times the crowd looked like they were going to swallow front woman Heidi Shepherd but security had her back. The mostly male audience was getting wild, I’m glad that I didn’t see any inappropriate groping of these fearless females…Then again, I wasn’t in the pit for the whole set.
During the last show of 2014, I felt like a fun-sized Fridae trying to film behind this WNBA sized femme who was in front of me for the entire set. This time, it was I who felt like Andre the Giant’s daughter when Vox – Carla Harvey ran past me to get back on the stage, she is so tiny! They kicked off their eight track set with intro “The George Takei song” followed by “I Smell A Massacre” and continued to rock out with their blend of New school metal. The sound was the best of the night and the crowd was having a fantastic time, especially when they rocked their big tunes “Mr. Slowdeath” and “Magnolia Blvd”. If you get the chance to see California’s Butcher Babies, go for it! I could actually understand what they we’re singing! Diction is the most common issue for metal bands live but these femmes had it on lock! Bassist Jason Klein and Guitarist Henry Flury used the stage and kept the music on point! The beats were always tight thanks to stick handler Chris Warner. Throughly impressed with The Butcher Babies, looking forward to covering them again in the future.
Hatebreed has always been one of those elusive bands I always missed at festivals and finally had the chance to shoot and absorb a set. Their lighting was the worst of the night and it shows in my shots, everyone was drowning in red lighting! At least the band sounded good, that was the last thing I needed, a shitty metal band in my ears for the next forty-five minutes or so! Thankfully that was not the problem with Hatebreed, surprisingly I enjoyed their fourteen track set very much. The crowd was singing along to the mix of old and new tracks played in the fourteen track set.
They rocked tunes like “This Is Now”, “Live For This”, “Doomsayer” and a few more of the classics…Not a big fan of the band, but am familiar with a few tunes thanks to an almost boyfriend. Hatebreed is one of those bands that has changed up members a few times. The current line up is: Jamey Jasta – Vox, Chris Beattie – Bass, Wayne Lozinak – Guitar, Matt Byrne – Drums and Frank Novinec – Guitar. The lighting was too boo and it was getting harder to shoot the band. The bodies were starting to fly more often and all the photographers who missed the Butcher Babies were trying to make up for it. Would I see Hatebreed again? Yes, would love to! They could use some more energy and crowd interaction but they held their own, that’s for sure!
The last band of the night was Black Label Society who I thought would never hit the stage. How long does it take to put up a curtain? Apparently, half an hour and six stage hands! Oh and let’s not forget they wouldn’t let us into the pit until after the curtain dropped and was put away…That took what felt like an hour and a half, we only had three songs. Due to the delay in rotation at this event, I could only reach one of the other two scheduled for that night. My phone was dying, so I plugged it into the smartest thing I bought this year thus far, a portable phone charger for $14.99 from The Source! Just as I pulled the battery from my phone, the band began to play and the curtain dropped, we finally were able to enter the media pit.
The set intro was “Whole Lotta Sabbath” followed by “The Beginning…At Last” which could not have been more ironic. As for vocals, the mic stand with a bunch of skulls was cool, but I couldn’t hear shit in the pit. I focused on the only instrument I could hear, the Lead Guitar. The sound of a seasoned guitarists fluid skills unfolding, is always a treat for my ears. Honestly, it did not matter that I couldn’t hear any vox at this point, my ears were too busy enjoying Zakk Wylde’s intoxicating electric axemastery. I’ve seen Black Label Society briefly once before, but only caught the last few songs of the set. The band has had a few member changes but two originals remain, founder Zakk Wylde – Piano/Vox/Lead Axe/Rhythm Guitar and Bassist/Backup Vox – John DeServio. The other members in the band are newbies Dario Lorina – Rhythm Guitar/Backup Vox and Jeff Fabb who was destroying that dragon skull drum kit.
It was awesome to see Wylde use different guitars for every song, especially the one that was stolen last year and found a few days after. The whole band was fun to watch because they were all feeling the music. My favorite of the night was, Bassist DeServio who was flying all over the stage, entertaining the crowd as some were flying into the pit. Security kept tapping us on our shoulder, which is the standard heads up for the incoming surfers. Didn’t have a chance to run away from the line of fire a few times and was smushed against the stage, as security pulled out crowd surfers. The lighting was perfect for this set, my camera loved shooting in these lights but as usual was being a diva with the reds. After the three media tunes I left the venue to hop in a cab and reach my next destination. Just as I wandered out the venue my friend called to tell me he was twenty minutes away. So I rewinded back inside to see a few tunes until my friend arrived.
Wandered back in the venue at the end of “Suicide Messiah” and new tune “My Dying Time” was played next. The crowd was even more into the show as it progressed, singing along to pretty much every tune played. A mix of hits with many from the latest record “Catacombs of the Black Vatican”. It was good to actually hear the vocals from the back of the venue, always the go to spot for the best sound.
In the end I actually got to watch and see most of the set but had to leave in the middle of “Angel Of Mercy” which sounded so good! Did not want to go just yet but I had other places to be, definitely need to watch a full set from Black Label Society in the near future. You should check them out, especially if you like hearing amazing guitar being played, Wylde’s guitar solo was epic. The newbs Lorina and Fabb killed it, they add more character and chemistry to the band. Thank you to everyone who helped make this first show of 2015 an unforgettable one! That includes the couple who were fighting before the BLS set and eventually escorted out of the Kool Haus by security. Adios Kool Haus, we had some amazing times! Will always be one of my favorite places to shoot incredible talent! Now this fabulously dangerous 18 year escapade is coming to an end. The memories will always be, but there will never be another venue like the Guvernment Entertainment Complex. You will be missed!
All Photography by: Kenny Godinho
Edited By: Fridae Mattas
Written By: Fridae Mattas
Photography By: Fridae Mattas
Additional Photo Credits: Joanna Glezakos
Words are flowing with ease because now I can breathe and actually focus on writing this editorial. The photos I shot were lost and I was trying to recover them somehow, finally mission is accomplished and they’re all edited. I was very happy that long time FridaeTV photographer Joanna made it to shoot a bit of the last two sets. There was to be four bands on the bill but apparently “Devil You Know” had some car troubles and did not make it to Toronto for the set. Was looking forward to seeing them perform but shit happens! Before we get into the meaty part of the editorial I must say if you don’t know who Lacuna Coil is I suggest you listen to a few tunes and then come back to read the rest of this review.
The first band on stage at The Opera House was Incura originally from Alberta and now transplanted to Vancouver. The band was support for the Canadian leg of the tour and I was so glad I made it to catch their set! Last time I saw Incura rock out was at Canadian Music week…I think? Who knows I could be lying, it’s been a while! Regardless, I don’t get tired of watching them play their hearts out on stage. I wish the Opera House would add some front lighting and not just backlighting always drowning out the performers.
It’s always a challenge to shoot at that venue but at least there was a barricade and mini pit to shoot from, very rare for the Opera House. Kyle Gruninger is the epitome of what a lead vocalist is, he actually sings the bands original material without all the bells and whistles and performs each track like it’s the last song he will sing…One day, they will be rocking arenas! They had an extended set due to the transportation issues of “Devil You Know” leaving a gap in the line up. The crowd didn’t seem to mind at all, I recognized quite a few tunes “Get The Gun”, “Who You Are”, “Greatest Con” and a few more. The other members in the band are: Phil Gardner – Drums, Jim McLaren – Keys, Jono Olson – Bass and Gatlin Fitzgerald – Lead Guitar. The band was extremely entertaining, every set is better than the last but some improvements still need to be made. McLaren on the Keys needs to be a little more vibrant, he looked bored some of the time and not that into the tunes. I cannot wait to see the next phase of progress for Incura.
Up next was a fresh band for me, Starset from Columbus, Ohio. I was the only one shooting the first two bands and didn’t know what to think when the band emerged on stage with lit space helmets on their head and rocking in black tights. The only one not in costume was lead vox Dustin Bates, the rest of the band Ron DeChant, Adam Gilbert and Brock Richards were glowing.
Starset were very fun to shoot and easy on the ears, I was really liking their tunes especially the catchy single “My Demons” from their debut record “Transmissions”. I will definitely need to check out the full record. The only thing I can think of that this band needs to fix is visual, they had this giant screen with the bands logo on it beside the keyboard. It did look cool for a minute but then got in the way, you could barely see the drummer or the vocalist when he was standing behind it. The music was good, a little much on the electrification of the vocals but I thoroughly enjoyed this band and will hit up another set if they reach Toronto again.
Continuing the trend of not dragging this on let’s chat about the headliners, before there was Evanescence, Lacuna Coil brought the goth metal melodies and vocals back in the early nineties. The one and only Italian GodFathers of Goth Rock Lacuna Coil has had some mild success, I’ve heard the bands music for a long time and when I found out they were hitting Toronto, had to cover them! There are many bands out there that deserve much more success and exposure than the current crop of shitterific mainstream entertainment. All of the bands on this Broken Crown Halo tour are part of group “A” the fantastic bands that should be heard.
Over the years Lacuna Coil has gained quite a loyal fanbase and not just in Europe, these talented Italianos from Milano have made a name for themselves across the globe. The band is: Cristina Scabbia – Vocals, Andrea Ferro – Vocals, Marco Coti Zelati – Bass, Marco ‘Maus’ Biazzi – Guitars and Ryan Blake Folden on the Drums .
Lacuna Coil had a few cool looking crowns decorating the stage and once they migrated out they we’re greeted with cheers as they kicked off their well blended fifteen track set with big tune Trip The Darkness off of Dark Adrenaline. That tune was soon followed by Spellbound from Shallow Life. Vocals by Andrea Ferro were almost flawless, he gave the people what they wanted…A Performance! I noticed some technical issues with the microphones but Ferro embraced it like a champ. Cristina’s vocals were strong, she sang her heart out and the fans couldn’t get enough, especially when they played Depeche Mode cover “Enjoy The Silence” to end the set. I liked Lacuna Coil’s rendition of the song much better than the original. Maus Biazzi on the axe was beyond incredible those licks were spectacular to hear! The beat was tight thanks to stellar stick handler Ryan Blake Folden and Zelati’s Bass lines were on point.
After I shot some photos I was watching the set from behind the soundbooth, the best view in the house! They had some fabulous lighting, still backlit but you must always work with what you have. It was fun to see the bands lighting tech enjoying the show as much as the fans, never seen a crew member so into the music. Rhythmically, he was in sync with every beat the band played and it translated on stage, now that’s passion! I loved watching and hearing the songs I’ve heard on the albums come to life.
The encore’s were a mix of old and new, first was Nothing Stands In Our Way from the current release Broken Crown Halo and the last tune the band played before lights out was Our Truth off of their album Karmacode. Huge thank you to Jon who linked it up and Lacuna Coil for having me! I enjoyed myself and will be seeing all of these bands again at some point in the future. 5 music notes out of 5 ♪♪♪♪♪ for each band, Lacuna Coil, Starset and Incura are all worth your time and support!
Written By: Fridae Mattas
Last Tuesday April 8th, new school veteran rockers The Used and Taking Back Sunday took over Toronto’s KoolHaus. The show was sold out and the fans were still wrapped around the Guvernment entertainment complex as they headed into the venue when I arrived. The Used hit number one on the Billboard Indie charts and debuted at number 14 on the Billboard 200 with their sixth studio album “Imaginary Enemy“. The LP was released on April 1st, 2014 and shattered Pandora’s streaming records. “Imaginary Enemy” is the most streamed premier in Pandora history, with over a million in the first week and over 625,000 spins on the actual date of release. Those numbers are pretty amazing for an indie band, these days it’s so much easier for people to find music they like, the possibilities are endless! The Used are not the only ones who released a new album; Taking Back Sunday dropped their fantastic new record “Happiness Is” March 18th. And, according to Bassist Shawn Cooper “It’s very rare that any band has their best release 6 albums in. In my opinion we did just that.”. You know what? I completely agree with Cooper. I’ve been listening to the older and new records of both bands; and the new albums are definitely the best material I have heard. You can read the full interview with Shaun Cooper here.
One of my friends saw the show in Chicago and told me Taking Back Sunday was on first so I was expecting them to hit the stage so Joanna and I could switch out but instead it was The Used who emerged with a blast of energy…Clearly my friend was confused…The stage set up had a bunch of TV’s stacked together on both sides. Cool visuals that also provided extra lighting, it reminded me of Rza’s set in the video for the track “Gone”. Have not had the chance to see The Used live before, I always missed them or they weren’t allowed into the country. Bert McCracken mentioned to the crowd that it was a challenge to get across the border.
The fans went crazy and the flying bodies of crowd surfers bloomed as frontman Bert McCracken jumped around enjoying the love and positive vibes from the crowd. First track of the twelve tune set was “Cry”, the bands latest single off of the new record. McCracken started strong, vocals were a little jittery when he was jumping around but that is absolutely understandable, its hard to keep a steady tone when your bouncing around. Unlike us critics, perfect vocals are not important to the fans but an unforgettable performance is.
The Used definitely delivered a high energy, heartfelt set, I did notice ballads are not McCracken’s forte as with many alt-rock singers. Regardless, he put his heart and soul into that performance, especially when they played “On My Own”, the second last track of the night. He talked about how music has saved him and how it saved and continues to save countless more. This is true, music is a therapeutic outlet with benefits for many people. The world would be a miserable and more intolerable place without music. The crowd was singing along to every lyric of every tune, even the new songs! You can’t ask for anything more from McCracken, he did his job very well! I would have liked to see more show guitar, and by that I mean rocking out with the axe! Do some cool shit people will remember, especially if you’re the guitarist playing a medley that includes a cover of Nirvana’s “Smell’s Like Teen Spirit”. It sounded fantastic but visually I was bored and always ended up paying more attention to Bert’s stage shenanigans, full name Robert Edward McCracken aka “Bert”. The rest of the band is: Quinn Allman – Guitar/Backup Vox, Jeph Howard – Bass/Backup Vox and Dan Whitesides – Drums.
Best part of the set for me was seeing how the fans, young and old were so mesmerized by Bert’s antics. The setlist was a concoction of new, (they debuted the song “Revolution” from the just released “Imaginary Enemy”) and older tunes like “I Caught Fire”, “Pretty Handsome Awkward” (a crowd favorite), “Taste Of Ink” and of course the closing medley “A Box Full Of Sharp Objects” from the self-titled debut album The Used. That was amazing to my ears, they blended it with Nirvana’s ” Smells Like Teen Spirit” and Rage Against The Machine’s “Killing In the Name” before ending their part in the double bill blast from the new age rock past. Next time they reach Toronto, I will be there! There were two opening bands “Tonight Alive” and “Sleepwave” who we did not reach on time to see. Major thank you to fabulous FridaeTV photographer Joanna for braving the pit solo capturing some great shots and Sarah at Hopeless for always being amazing! Was very excited to see Taking Back Sunday throw it down, has been a while since I covered any of their live sets. When I first received the press release about new material from the band I was very confused because frontman Adam Lazzara looks completely different from the 2012 Warped Tour set. They kicked off the sixteen tunes with the quirky “Stood A Chance”, it is the second single off of their newest record “Happiness Is”. The track began and vox was on key but midway through the song it was off, sounding pitchy as fuck and stayed like that for a minute until Lazzara found his vocal balance during the break down. Once he was back in control it was smooth sailing from there. Very sad that I could only stay for a few songs because of a prior engagement that needed my immediate attention. Tried to absorb as much of Lazzara’s trademark mic tossing and hair flipping as I could before my departure.
The whole band was rocking out from the first note played, they are; John Nolan – Lead Guitar, Eddie Reyes – Rhythm Guitar, Shaun Cooper – Bass and Mark O’Connell on the skins. I liked that they had Drummer O’Connell within view and not in the dark like The Used’s percussionist Dan Whitesides, who was shoved between the TV’s in the dark.They had a fantastic aura surrounding them as they rocked out to the capacity filled KoolHaus. Even though I saw a few people leave after the Used tore it up, it still looked, felt and sounded like a full house! This isn’t over, FridaeTV has to cover Taking Back Sunday again! According to a close friend TBS closed their set with “Make Damn Sure” from their third record “Louder Now”. As I was exiting the venue, I heard a few fans talking about what an incredible experience it was to see their favorite bands on one stage and how badly they needed to buy a tshirt before leaving. The Co-Headlining tour is still on and most dates are sold out but if you’re lucky to find tickets go! Feed your soul with some quality new school rock and roll! Buy their new records for new ear candy, both of these bands shred the stage and please your ears at the same time! COPYRIGHT © 2014 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved
By: Fridae Mattas
A few weeks ago I published Matt Webb’s record review on his sophomore EP “Right Direction”. On Friday, March 7th 2014 I migrated to Adelaide Hall downtown Toronto to check him out live. I have never actually paid attention during a Marianas Trench set not my cup of tea. So, I went to this gig not knowing what to expect, except that he would be performing tunes off of his latest album. The venue itself I have never been to or so I thought, but once inside I had to go upstairs and then down the hall and back downstairs to reach the stage area. The venue then reminded me of this club “LimeLight” I went to before I was legal to even go clubbing. Once downstairs I saw that the stage area did not have a media pit and was already surrounded with fans, I was not about to try reaching the front. A fan I was talking to told me a interesting little fact about the venue, there are two Men’s restrooms downstairs but only one Female washroom all the way up a flight of stairs…Not exactly the most logical or convenient layout if you expect female patrons to regularly visit the venue.Somehow I forgot that Webb is in a hugely popular Canadian band with mostly female fans…I was reminded, well more along the lines of startled when the screams erupted, I regretted forgetting my ear plugs so much. For all of you MT fans according to the bands guitar man Webb, Marianas Trench are working hard on a new record. I was surprised to see he had a band backing him up, thought it was going to be an acoustic set for some reason. I am assuming they have named themselves “The Qukes”, I saw a banner hanging with that moniker and a sliced cucumber. Don’t remember how many tracks were played but I did hear all of the tunes from the record, the band played well, they were getting into the tunes feeding off of the crowds energy.Although I did not get a chance to catch the openersone of them, “Kevin Maher, aka Kevvy Mental” vox from the band “Fake Shark – Real Zombie” did make a guest appearance for one of the tunes. Maher was not the only guest to sing with Webb, he had a contest winner join him on stage. Her name escapes me but I do recall Webb reassuring the crowd she was qualified to sing because of her training at the Royal Conservatory of Music. The guests did well from what I could hear over the fans. Most of the fans I encountered were chill and at one point I did try to get a little closer, my mistake…A few colourful words were unleashed by a few teenies decked out in stilettos, booby shirts and muff wraps (mini skirts) thinking they were gonna get lucky with Webb that night…So funny are groupies. For a guitar player Matt Webb held his own on stage, he looked comfortable enough, interacted with the fans but did not talk too much. And, although I heard a few pitchy vocals because breathing work is needed, it was decent enough. Much worse these ears have heard and have come to the conclusion everyone is better than Scott Stapp live, even Chad Kroeger. Trying to get a shot of the drummer was a challenge, one of the band Larries was always in the way. Upstairs I went for some aerial shots, even with the angle change I still couldn’t get decent shots of the drummer, so I just migrated back down to try again. Most of the crowd cleared out once he thanked everyone and the lights dimmed but a lot of girls were not budging. The remaining crowd began chanting “Encore” until Webb and friends popped back on stage.Toronto was the first date of the tour across Canada, if you want to take your child or younger sibling to hear some live music and can handle screaming females, go see Matt Webb and The Qukes rock out. COPYRIGHT © 2014 FRIDAE MATTAS. All Rights Reserved